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US Department of Defense to Develop Hoverbikes

The United States Department of Defense is picking up the hoverbike Kickstarter project, Malloy Hoverbike. The British-made hoverbike will serve as a multiple purpose transport for soldiers over difficult terrain, drone purposes, and logistical or surveillance support. Malloy Aeronautics announced that they will be in partnership with a long-time US DoD defense contractor, Maryland-based SURVICE Engineering, to develop and manufacture the craft. Work will be completed in Maryland and the hoverbike will be developed with the United States Army Research Laboratory (ARL) which classifies the hoverbike as “a new class of Tactical Reconnaissance Vehicle (TRV).”

It is planned that the hoverbike will become an easy replacement for roles that are performed by helicopter such as moving supplies and low-altitude reconnaissance. The operating cost of the hoverbike is significantly cheaper and the adducted and housed rotor blades would allow the hoverbike to perform safer close quarter work when compared to a helicopter. There currently is not a timeline for the official deployment of the hovercraft. However, the organizations are presently working on constructing prototypes that meet military requirements.

Developed by Malloy Aeronautics, the Malloy Hoverbike began as a bi-copter. The craft sported a carbon fiber chassis, a motorbike engine, and two large front and back propellers. The bi-copter design was eventually scrapped for a quadcopter design as the bi-copter was not safe or cheap enough to keep up with the competition. The current version of the Malloy Hoverbike is basically a large sit-on quadcopter. However, its primary differences are that the craft has off-set, overlapping rotors which lower its overall size and weight. For power, Malloy Aeronautics got rid of the petrol engine, possibly to introduce electric motors and/or lithium ion batteries. Regardless of which engine is used, it is estimated that the hoverbike will be able to lift 220 pounds.

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